Friday, May 27, 2011

And the project continues.

Starting to take form...
It has been a LONG time since November 2010, but I am back.  And I've made a few acquisitions for the 'Whale.

I was able to pick up two more wheels on ebay about a month ago.  Since my last post, I have also grabbed the sled, the cannons, the cannon hinge covers, the missiles, and a second missile pod.  This entire little project has turned out to be more time consuming expensive than I thought it was going to be, especially the way I am doing it- buying items piece by piece, based on what is for sale on ebay or various vintage toy web sites that I find at any given time.  Some parts of this toy are very expensive- $20.00 each plus shipping for the steering vanes that go on the back of the boat, and there are four of them.  $20!  For a tiny piece of plastic!  And the really nifty part is that these vanes are very fragile, so the lots I find on ebay (when they are there) are often broken.

It can be frustrating waiting for the item that I am looking for to show up for sale, and rough when I see the starting price on it far higher then my the logical side of my head thinks I should pay for it.  And then I get to start bidding and hope that someone does not out offer me.  But you know what?  When I get that brown box or padded envelope in the mail with my order, all that frustration is long gone.  Putting this thing together, watching it coming closer and closer to complete, is unlike anything else I have ever done before.  I did do a bit of Habitat for Humanity in college.  The feeling I get as I put more and more parts on the toy is something like the satisfaction I would enjoy as we put the dry wall on the studs or finished creating a staircase where there was just an empty space a few hours before.  And I understand that- I get that.  But there is something else at work here also. On top of the normal delight I get from putting things together, there is the added pleasure of getting to slowly acquire something that I have wanted, something I have pined for, for literally 25 years.   A quarter of a century.  And now I get to do it.  It is so deeply rewarding that it makes all the other stuff- the bidding wars, the waiting for someone to post the part I am looking for, the frustration, the money and the waiting, waiting, waiting... see all of this come together makes it all worth it.

This thing is a lot bigger than I thought it would be.

The amazing thing about the Killer Whale is that the more it comes together, the cooler the toy is.  I thought it would be cool when I started this project, but I had no idea.  They simply don't make toys like this anymore.  There are so many parts, so many cool activities to do with this thing that I could see kids *literally* playing with it for hours.  There are cannons that rotate up and down on hinges, the two machine gun turrets that men can stand it, an the ejecting sled that an action figure can use to scout ahead, the hold inside of the boat with room for several figures or a small vehicle with a fold out ramp, wheels to push the thing around on flat surfaces, OR, you could bring it to a lake or steam and the thing will float.  Its just freaken' amazing.  So much thought seemed to go into this toy.  I just think about all the kids who had a chance to play with it and all of the battles this thing went through, all the different ways it could be played with- sending the good guys head long into the fight, rescuing stranded heroes, speaking up on a bad guy base from the sea, either with guns blazing or by stealthy under a cover of darkness... so many great imaginary adventures must have featured this great toy.

A wise friend of mine, Matt, once told me, "try to have low expectations.  That way, if your expectations aren't met, it will be a pleasant surprise."  The older I have gotten, the more truth I have seen in that statement.  I acknowledge to having high hopes for this project at the outset.  This is one of the rare cases where my risky high expectations have been exceeded by reality. 

Anywhere, here are some pics of where the ship stands now.  Next post will be when the next shipment arrives, which according to ebay, should be in the next few days.  Take care.  See you back again soon.

Parts still to go: motor cycle, depth charges, fans, fan shrouds, steering vanes, cannon tips, Cutter (ship pilot).

David Draper